Go to contents

Taegeuk Duo: “Missing One Percent”

Posted April. 27, 2005 23:27,   


“If only they could complement that one percent…”

The first Koreans to play in the semifinals of the European Champions League, “Mickey Mouse” Park Ji-sung’s (24) and “Chorongee” Lee Young-pyo’s (28, both Eindhoven) performances worked against one of the world’s top teams.

The first leg of the 2004~2005 UEFA Champions League semifinals, PSV Eindhoven vs. AC Milan, took place in San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy on April 27 (Korean time). Eindhoven, led by Guus Hiddink, gave up a goal each to Andriy Shevchenko (42 minutes, first half) and Jon Dahl Tomasson (45 minutes, second half), losing the game 0-2.

In the second leg held on May 5 at its home stadium, Eindhoven will either have to win by a score of at least 2-0 or by at least three points if the opponent scores as well, in order to make the finals.

Though Eindhoven lost this day, the Taegeuk Warriors received good reviews. The “www.goal.com” gave Park Ji-sung and Lee Young-pyo seven out of a total of 10 points, placing them on the top players list along with Shevchenko, Jaap Stam, Kaka (AC Milan), and Gomes (Eindhoven).

“www.raisport.com,” a site run by the Italian national RAI broadcasting company, gave Park Ji-sung and Gomes seven points each, the highest among both teams, and gave Lee Young-pyo 6.5 points.

Park Ji-sung was positioned behind Farfan and Beasly, playing the role of both striker and playmaker, and Lee Young-pyo played full time as a left-wingback, making a four-back formation with Alex, Ooijer, and Bouma.

Park Ji-sung used his head to stop AC Milan’s Crespo’s ball from going into the goal at 10 minutes into the first half. At 25 minutes he kicked a 25m mid-distance shot and met two more scoring chances, at the second and ninth minute into the second half, but failed to score.

“He created six scoring opportunities while facing the world’s top defensive players, but unfortunately failed to make the finishing touches.” As Hiddink said, the one percent that Park Ji-sung lacks is power and goal determination. There is also the critique that he lacks power and goal determination compared to Shevchenko, the current best striker who was twice the top scorer in the Italian league. Park Ji-sung said, “It is my fault; I failed to score when I should have.”

Lee Young-pyo showed superiority in the wingback face-off against Cafu (35), the veteran player who has played in three consecutive World Cups since the 1994 U.S. World Cup. Experts point out that although Lee Young-pyo excels in using his strength, astuteness, and sense to intercept the opponent’s attack, and also in pushing forward the sideline, he should cultivate his ball passing to the goal more precisely and powerfully.

Soon-Il Kwon stt77@donga.com